Digital Solutions

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How do we meet our greatest challenges head-on e.g. healthy ageing and AI?

The UK's Industrial Strategy identified 4 Grand Challenges to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future, ensuring that the UK takes advantage of major global changes, improving people's lives and the country's productivity. They were:

  • AI and data
  • ageing society
  • clean growth
  • future of mobility

Each challenge requires the collaboration of Government, industry and academia to tackle them.

Ageing society

For ageing society, the mission is to ensure that people can enjoy at least 5 extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and poorest.

Innovative firms are being encouraged to establish programmes to drive improvements in public health and innovation across the social care sector and better meet the needs of older people.

This has led to some exciting digital health firms focusing on issues related to healthy ageing. CeraCare specialises in helping families arrange, schedule and manage personalised home care for elderly relatives on demand. Kraydel helps to tackle social isolation with users utilising their own TVs for video calling, helping people stay connected with alerts and reminders and is specifically designed for those less comfortable with technology. Birdie is an online hub with planning tools, instant alerts and easy auditing reducing administration, uncertainty and stress. NHS North of England Commissioning Support (NECS) enabled Care Homes to instantly share their live bed state and enable hospital discharge teams and other stakeholders to rapidly find available nursing and residential beds.

AI and Data

On AI and data, the mission is to use data, AI and innovation to transform the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases by 2030. There's a great deal of work going on in the UK around AI. There are now so many AI firms in the UK that in 2018 the All Party Parliamentary Group on AI (APPG AI) created a mind-map of 1,000 AI companies and 600 investors.

The UK Government set up The Office for AI with an AI Sector Deal that sets out a number of commitments from government and industry. It also has the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) to connect policymakers, industry, civil society, and the public to develop the right governance regime for data-driven technologies. There are now 16 Centres for Doctoral Training in AI from Edinburgh to Swansea to Southampton.

The Alan Turing Institute is the national institute for data science and AI (or 'machines that think', as imagined in Alan Turing's landmark research paper published in 1950), advancing world-class research and applying it to real-world problems, training the leaders of the future and leading the public conversation. It is joined by The Ada Lovelace Institute which has a mission to ensure data and AI work for people and society.

The NHS now has an AI Lab, building on the foundations of the code of conduct for data-driven health and care technology (CoC). The aim of the UK is to be the world leader in the development and regulation of AI which adheres to ethical values such as autonomy, transparency, confidentiality and privacy.

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